Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Psych: The Musical

Written and directed by show creator Steve Franks the long-delayed musical episode (filming began on the episode way back on October 2, 2012) finally hit television this weekend and DVD stores today. Featuring the show's trademark wacky style, several familiar faces, and fun (if neither catchy nor all that memorable) tunes, Psych The Musical may not quite be worth the wait but it does provide some fun moments.

The episode begins with a search for an escaped mental patient and former playwright (Anthony Rapp) who went insane and killed a critic before burning down the theater on the night before his play was set to premiere. With the show's revival the man has escaped to exact vengeance for those who wronged him, although Shawn (James Roday) becomes increasingly unsure of the playwright's actual guilt.

A trip to the nuthouse reunites Shawn and Gus (Dulé Hill) with the serial killer Yang (Ally Sheedy) who convinces Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet (Maggie Lawson) to let her out of the asylum in exchange for her help to track down the escaped mental patient. Not surprisingly, soon the SBPD has two escaped killer mental patients to deal with (although only will will survive the episode).

While Shawn looks into other suspects including the show's producer (Barry Bostwick), the original play's leading woman (Brooke Lyons), one of the play's stars (Geoff Gustafson), and it's director (Donavon Stinson), various characters continue to burst into song (which is sometimes commented upon by those around them and in other scenes completely ignored).

Boasting 17 tracks over the two-hour special, the episode's soundtrack is filled mostly conversational-style music with Shawn and/or Gus acting foolish while trying to solve the case. Sometimes various catch phrases and running gags of the show's seven-year run are highlighted (as in "I've Heard it Both Ways" and Gus' improvisational tap dancing number) while others highlight the show's setting ("Santa Barbara Skies"). Even Woody (Kurt Fuller) and surprise guest-star Mary Lightly (Jimmi Simpson) earn their own numbers. The macabre goofiness of Woody's "Often the Opposite," performed in the SBPD morgue, is one of episode best staged numbers.

As the show isn't made up with the strongest vocal artists the choice to cast Rapp to perform one of the bigger numbers works well. Omundson proves to have a nice range, but Lawson looks mostly uncomfortable while performing (which comes across visually as well as in the track). The others mostly hold their own leaving Roday to carry most of weight. It's not one of the show's best episodes, and I'd argue it doesn't really deserve it's own DVD release, but as a fan of the show it's certainly worth picking up and adding to your collection.

The single-disc DVD includes a sing-a-long and CD copy of selected songs from the special.

[Universal Studios, DVD $19.98]

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